Friday, November 4, 2011

Madecasse - beyond fair trade chocolate

"70% of the world’s cocoa comes from Africa but less than 1% of chocolate is made there. Instead, farmers sell whole cocoa pods to the first of many middlemen who eventually export the cocoa beans to chocolate makers in Belgium or France. Tim McCollum and Brett Beach--introduced to Madagascar and each other while in the Peace Corps--founded Madécasse in 2008 to keep more economic benefit within the island nation. The company partners with 45 cocoa farmers in the Ezaka cooperative and a factory in Antananarivo to move from bean to bar in one month and then onto shelves in Whole Foods and boutiques internationally." (Fast Company's 50 most innovative companies article)
Hosting the entire process in Madagascar generates 4x more income than fair trade cocoa alone.

I am actually eating the 'Sea Salt & Nibs' bar as I type this....perfect blend of 63% cocoa and salt...mmm. Madecasse reminds of the event I went to this summer featuring Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former President of Tanzania. When asked what he thinks Tanzania and African countries need the most, Mr. Mwinyi said they needed to do more production in country. Less of just exporting raw materials to other countries for a tiny percentage of the overall profits. He mentioned bananas, mangoes and Tanzanite as possible ideas. I 100% agree. It is really disappointing that even though Tanzanite can only be found around Tanzania it is often processed in Asian countries. At least Madecasse is challenging the current cocoa production trends.

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